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  1. #11
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    Chuck,
    You are correct - it did take about a year to get the legislation passed to create the "Consolidation Warehouses". Dave's date could simply be the year the whiskey went into the consolidation warehouse from where the whiskey was stored before. If so it was peobably a non bonded blend. It should be also noted that the DSP No. for whiskey is the distillery where the whiskey goes into the barrel, not necessarily where it was made. When I was at U.D. Brown-Forman made some I W Harper while the Bernheim distillery was being built. It was shipped in bulk to Bernheim and put into the barrel at Bernheim with DSP 1 on the barrel. Something along those lines could be the cause of Daves tax stamp - the whiskey was made somewhere else and when the barrels finally arrived at a bonded warehouse, they were entered into the books for 1921.

    It should be remembered that before prohibition over half of the whiskey on the market was a blend of some kind. These blends were sold in both barrels and bottles and some blenders created a consistant taste for their bottled product by aging their blends after blending for six months to a year in barrels. If you had a blender who sold 20,000 barrels a year but decided in 1919 with prohibition coming and people stocking up for the dry times ahead, he will produce 30,000 barrels. He did a fair estimate of his business but still only sold 28,000 barrels and has 2,000 barrels on hand when prohibition came into effect. He holds these barrels in his warehouse because they are his property even if he can't sell them to the public. After a year the government makes him place his 2,000 barrels into a bonded, consolidation warehouse and it is given a date of 1921 and the DSP Number for the distillery of the warehouse. Later he sells this whiskey to someone who owns a license for one of their products, or writes a contract with one of these companies to bottle and sell it for him giving them a price for each bottle sold - usually about 5 cents a bottle plus bottling cost.

    Mike Veach

  2. #12
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    I recall reading flat-out that whiskey was distilled to replenish supplies numerous times before Volstead ended including before 1928. However I can't find the reference! I checked last night my 1933 Fortune article; it doesn't say it (but refers to the 1928 manufacture, actually it says, or suggests rather, it was 1929). I checked Sam Cecil's book; it's not there either. It must be in Carson's Social History of Bourbon, but I couldn't quickly find my copy last night. Can anyone who has it close to hand check what it states on the subject? I do note that in my Fortune article, there is a color picture (I have the actual magazine) of a bunch of bottles, one is an Old Overholt and it shows the stamp clearly stating "made 1921". I doubt this was, that early, a blend. I am not saying you are wrong Mike, and as you know I have great respect for your knowledge in this area, but you are the first to encourage scholarship and inquiry and it would be useful to find that reference I read (and I know I read it) to assess its value. Frankly, it would have surprised me they started distilling again so soon after Volstead but I am pretty sure I read that this happened.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 07-12-2006 at 12:21.

  3. #13
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    Gary,
    I would not worry about offending me - you know I always enjoy our discussions even when we disagree about a subject.

    I am sure that 1928 is the first legal distillation to replenish stocks. I have seen earlier dates in printed material as well, but their source was usually a marketing department of a distillery. The 1928 date comes from some primary sources, Including Julian Van Winkle's papers at U D. As far as the Old Overholt bottle, I would not place any bets against it being a blend in the bottle. The Fortune Magazine article, if it is the one I am familiar with, was written in 1933 or 34. Old Overholt was one of the Flagship brands for AMS/National Distillers during prohibition. I am sure the original Old Overholt gave out before the 13 years rab out and the whiskey in the bottles was what ever they could find to replace the original that met a quality standard of Old Overholt. By 1933, some of the blends that had neutral spirits in them and placed in used barrels, probably had a better taste than some of the straights that had aged 13 to 15 years. The straight whiskeys were designed to be bottled before they were 8 years old. Not all of them would improve at 10, 12 or 15 years of age.

    Mike Veach

  4. #14
    Connoisseur
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    Jan 2004
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    Mike,

    The Mt Vernon Rye, as I mentioned before, is labeled "Straight Rye Whiskey".

    I don't believe a "Blend" would be in the barrel as suggested.

    This topic arose in a thread a few years ago and Gary mentioned that four times during Prohibition whiskey was allowed to be produced. From various readings it seems no additional bourbon was produced until 1929. But maybe straight rye whiskey was allowed to be distilled under permit in the early 1920's....just a thought!
    Dave G.

  5. #15
    Connoisseur
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    Dave,
    When was your whiskey bottled? I am not sure that the government was particularly picky about definitions by the end of prohibition. I know that while at United Distillers, we tasted some Mammoth Cave Bourbon that was bottled towards the end of prohibition. I believe Chuck Cowdery mentions this whiskey in his excellent book so he will remember the tasting as well. Our quality control lab did analyse the whiskey to what was in it and they were of the opinion that it contained neutral spirits, yet it was labeled Straight Bourbon Whiskey on the label.

    Since it was the Federal Government enforcing prohibition, there should not have been any difference in the law as far as states are concerned. If Kentucky could not distill, then neither could Pennsylvania or Maryland. I will be interested in seeing what Gary finds in the references he is looking for. Gary is a very good researcher and has some excellent sources. He may have found something I am unfamiliar with and I will enjoy seeing it. He prove me wrong in the production dates. If so it will be good to add to the knowledge base.

    Mike Veach

  6. #16
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Everything Mike has said is consistent with my information. I am fairly certain there was no legal distilling done in 1921.

    There are many sources that tell how medicinal supplies were dwindling and public support for repeal was growing by the end of the 20s so the companies that had medicinal whiskey licenses were authorized to fire up their stills. Unfortunately, very few had stills that were still in working order. One of the few that did was Stitzel (this was the old Stitzel plant, not Stitzel-Weller), so they were the first to legally distill during Prohibition, and that was in December of 1929.

    I think the way some of this misunderstanding has occurred is that much has been made of the medicinal whiskey licenses and, since they were issued to distilleries, many people just assumed those plants continued to distill right through Prohibition. They didn't. The medicinal whiskey licenses allowed them to sell the whiskey stocks they had, which at the beginning of Prohibition were considerable.

    The movement of liquor to consolidation warehouses is probably the best explanation for the 1921 date, and it isn't necessarily that the whiskey must have been a blend. One can easily imagine how the date when the whiskey was entered into the consolidation warehouse became its "made on" date.

  7. #17
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    I'll check further, as Dave says (good memory Dave) I indicated, because I read earlier, that legal distilling occurred 4 times during Volstead. My remaining sources are not extensive: the books I haven't checked yet are Gerald Carson's book and Waymack and Harris. Fortune in '33 by the way (and this clearly is the same article Mike referred to) said that to distill under license to replenish stocks, a distillery had to own stocks and the distilling license allowed so much to be made in relation to that. If you didn't own any more stocks you couldn't make any more, is how I read Fortune. George Stagg was one of the distilleries that distilled legally as I recall during Prohibition because it owned stocks. Anyway, if anyone has the books before them now, they might save me the trouble. Any footnotes to the quotations might be helpful, too.

    Gary

  8. #18
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    The Mt Vernon was bottled in the fall of 1933. Interestingly the back label refers to rebottling by AMS.

    A little research has turned up this tidbit....both Gwynnbrook( whiskey which usually fills bottles under Hunter Rye brand ) and Mt Vernon really distilled straight whiskey or at least real rye as defined by the Pure Food and Drug Act.
    Dave G.

  9. #19
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Well. I found my Carson. No dice. Waymack and Harris. Ditto. I went back to Cecil because I thought I had read it there. Nope. But in leafing through Cecil, I found under the entry for Taylor/Stagg/O.F.C./Ancienet Age this statement: "In 1929 O.F.C. Distillery was reactivated as one of four Kentucky plants to replenish medicinal stock". Could I have misrecalled this reference as one stating that permits were granted four times to distill new stocks during Prohibition? Maybe. Although I can almost swear I read what I thought I read, somewhere. (And the Cecil quote is not 100% clear). Because e.g., I seem to recall that the Overholt plant was one of the plants allowed to distill under permit. But I might be combining and confusing different pieces of information. The 1929 date also coincides with the date in the Fortune story from 1933 and Fortune did not mention earlier distilling under permit, so presumably Cecil meant that 4 Kentucky plants were permitted to distill in the one year, 1929. So, so far I can't disprove what Mike is saying. And clearly in '21-'22 a lot of whiskey was being moved into concentrated warehouses for bottling so the idea of its being "made" then, entering the system as Mike said, is certainly arguable. Mike, I suspect you are right, but if I ever find the reference I thought I read, I'll update this note!

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 07-12-2006 at 16:34.

  10. #20
    Advanced Taster
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    Jun 2005
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    Indianapolis, IN
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    132
    I really wish I could be at the Festival this year, cause I'd like to share a sip of this whiskey with you all. My brother and I picked up quite a few bottles of this on eBay at what is now looking to be a steal (if the $200 sell price of the one on eBay is any indication).

    We did open a bottle and I have to say that it is much better than I expected. It was definitely a rye recipie and you could taste the wood, but not overwhelming. While it isn't the best whiskey I've ever had, it was quite nice being as old as it was (in oak and bottle).

    The bottle, box and case (have that as well) was stamped that it was made for the stockholders of AMS. Given that there really isn't much of a brand "Special Old Reserve" -- it makes sense. And from what I've read about the poor quality of whiskey released after prohibition, this definitely didn't fit that bill either.

 

 

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